Something Doing

Ragtime Happenings in the Southland

APRIL, 2000


Rose Leaf Ragtime Club March Meeting (3/26/2000)

Reported by Bill Mitchell

Gary Rametta got the ball rolling by playing Scott Joplin's "The Favorite." He then welcomed everyone to the Rose Leaf Club and made a few announcements, including a reminder that we have a CD and tape library available, thanks to Lee Roan, who has custody of it. (Members may check out items and then check them in at the next meeting.)

Gary invited Ron Ross up to the piano to play a couple of his own compositions, "Retro Rag" and "Ragtime Song."

Gary performed another Joplin Rag, "Sugar Cane."

Since it was Academy Award Sunday, Bill Mitchell chose a rag that predicted the Oscar-winning film of 1999. It was, of course, "American Beauty," by Joe Lamb. Bill would have chosen something to honor "The Cider House Rules" but couldn't think of a suitable title. (Bill Mintz later suggested that he might have used Percy Wenrich's "Sweet Cider Time, When You Were Mine.") Mitchell then attempted a rag he has been working on for months, a wonderful frisky number by club member George McClellan called "Carefree." He concluded his set with James Scott's "Great Scott Rag."

The piano duo of Lee Roan and George McClellan treated us to three old standards, "Goody Goody," "Limehouse Blues," and "Jada."

A first for the Rose Leaf Club was the appearance of an accordionist, Helen Reese. Helen performed solos on "Louise" and "It Had to Be You."

Jack Christopher, a retired teacher from Monrovia, dedicated his set to the IRS, since the tax deadline was impending. What could be more appropriate than "I Can't Give You Anything But Love," "All of Me," and "Everything I Have Is Yours"?

Gary Rametta continued on his Joplin kick with one of that composer's most brilliant and imaginative pieces, "Scott Joplin's New Rag."

A visiting pianist from Nashville, Tennessee, Nyle Frank, played three of his own compositions: "Earlybird Rag," "Irregardless Rag," and "Salsbury Post March." This march, in the style of Sousa, was named after the daily newspaper in Salsbury, NC. Nyle brought several copies of his CD, "Back in the Big Easy," which contained two of the numbers he played at the meeting.

Ruby Fradkin, our youngest performer (all of nine years of age), played "Playmates," "On a Bicycle Built for Two," "Tom Dooley," and "Jenny Jenkins."

Mildred Stuart, who is, incredibly, 95 years old, performed "Hail, Hail, the Gang's All Here," and "It's Been a Long, Long Time."

This brought us to intermission, during which we had our monthly raffle. The prizes consisted of a four-month trial subscription to The American Rag, and a couple of ragtime LPs. Our thanks to Becky Todd and Bob Kirby for handling the raffle.

The second half began with a few remarks by Gary Rametta about tangos. He and Yuko, his fiancée, had found a book of Argentinean tangos from 1900. Yuko, also a fine pianist, played two delightful discoveries: "La Cottorita," by Samuel Castriota, and "Independencia," by Alfredo A. Bevilacqua.

Fred Hoeptner chose to play the challenging "Efficiency Rag," one of James Scott's most brilliant numbers. He followed up with "Opalescence," by Hal Isbitz.

George McClellan came up with three old favorites, "Bye Bye Blues," "I Ain't Got Nobody," and "Second Hand Rose."

Ron Ross returned with two more of his compositions, "Sweet Is the Sound" and "Impressions," both habaneras.

Ruby Fradkin encored with "Baby Face," "Smiles," "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," and "Saints."

Helen Reese warmed up the "squeeze box" again on "Just Because," "As Time Goes By," and was joined by George McClellan on "Five Foot Two." (To everyone's delight, Mildred Stuart was moved to do a little dance step or two on this one!)

Gary Rametta played the Joplin-Chauvin collaboration, "Heliotrope Bouquet."

Bill Mitchell contributed another Joplin rag, "Easy Winners." He then did a couple of Jelly-Roll Morton pieces, "New Orleans Joys," (in anticipation of his forthcoming vacation in The Big Easy), and "The Pearls."

Gary and Bill at the two pianos brought the meeting to a close with "Elite Syncopations" and "Sunflower Slow Drag." (Obviously Joplin got considerable exposure at the March meeting.)

Music – Sometimes

By Susan Erb

Sometimes music makes me glad
Sometimes music makes me sad
It depends on the music played

Music can send me on my way
It can make me dance
It can make me sing
Music can take me on a trip
Through memory lane
Or hope for what has yet to be

Music can speak of the future
Or of the past
And today brighten and guide me
On my way

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